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Article by Kay Collins based on census records and notes from Eric Fowell.
Miss Winnie M Clipson

Winifred Mary Clipson was 10 months old when the census was taken on 5th April 1891. Her father John Clipson was born at Glendon and married Mary from Kettering in about 1878. Their daughter Mary and son John were born at Kettering, but in about 1885 the family came to Rushden and by 1901 they had added 5 more children to their family. Their eldest daughter Mary was a book-keeper and the two eldest boys, John and Harold were mechanical engineers like their father, Helen was a school teacher and Winifred, James and Frances were 10, 8 and 4 years old.

When the First World War broke out, Winnie was already serving in the St John's Ambulance Brigade in the Nursing Division. She was appointed ward secretary of the Rushden Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) Hospital and the following year went on "war duty" to Leicester Royal Infirmary. In 1916 she went temporarily to Lord Exeter's Burghley House until a trained nurse was found and Winnie moved to Hinwick House, another V.A.D. Hospital. Her next appointment was at the Holborn Military Hospital, Mitcham, Surrey, but she was invalided home in 1918.

In 1921 she was on duty with the St John's Ambulance Nursing Division when the town War Memorial was unveiled and, owing to the heat of the day, at the service many people collapsed and were treated by Winnie.

An award ceremony at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London in March 1953, invested the title "Officer of the Order of St John" to Winnie for her long service, when she had been the Superintendent at Rushden for 29 years.

Miss Winnie Clipson
(Photo courtesy of Eric Fowell)

Accident 1916
staff & patients
Staff and patients with Miss Clipson (right)

Postcards by C F Chapman c1916/7

Miss Clipson
on the lawn

Rushden Echo, 27th April 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Measles having broken out among the family at Hinwick House, the V.A.D. Hospital is in quarantine for 14 days.

Rushden Echo, 27th April 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Operation—Nurse Winnie Clipson, daughter of Councillor J S and Mrs Clipson, who after the Hinwick V.A.D. Hospital was temporarily closed, was transferred to the staff of the Holborn Military Hospital at Mitcham, Surrey, unfortunately developed symptoms of tonsillitis, and the doctor there recommended her to undergo an operation. This view was confirmed by a specialist from the Golden Square Hospital, London. Nurse Clipson's father was sent for, and he consented to the operation, which was performed on Friday last and was quite successful. Afterwards, however, haemorrhage of the tonsils ser in, and the patient lost a considerable quantity of blood. Mr. and Mrs. Clipson visited their daughter during the weekend, and have now received a letter stating that she is going on very satisfactorily.

The Argus, 27th April 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

“Mr. Cobbler”
Mr. J. S. Clipson has had a trying time of late, for his daughter has had to undergo an operation. I am very glad to hear that Nurse Winnie is going on nicely, and I hope she will soon be restored to health to continue the noble work she, in common with so many clever women, is doing in the hospitals at this critical time in our history.

Miss Clipson in 1934

Rushden Echo & Argus, 27th March 1953, transcribed by Kay Collins

Superintendent Miss W. M. Clipson, of the Rushden Nursing Division, admires her lateset emblem as Officer Sister St. John, which she received on Tuesday at an investiture at St. Batholomew's Hospital, London.

Miss Winnie Clipson
The emblem was presented to her by the Lord Prior, Lord Wakehurst, Governor of Northern Ireland, with the words: "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Grand Prior the Duke of Gloucester welcome you as an Officer Sister of the Order of St. John, and wish you every happiness in your work."

Renowned for her work in charge of the First Aid Post at Rushden during the war and in connection with blood donors sessions, Miss Clipson received this honour in recognition of her services. She was made a serving sister in 1934, and has been an officer in the Rushden Division since 1919. She has been superintendent for 29 years.

Outside her home - 40 Purvis Road c1950

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 8th April 1955, transcribed by Gill Hollis

42 years with nursing service

A record of service with Rushden St. John Ambulance Brigade dating back to 1913 came to an end with the resignation of the Nursing Division Superintendent, Miss W. M. Clipson.

Miss Clipson resigned for health reasons.

When the First World War broke out she joined the V.A.D. but was invalided out in 1918.

Miss Clipson was appointed secretary and Lady Ambulance Officer of the Rushden Nursing Division in 1920. In 1925 she succeeded to the command of the Division and in June, 1932 was awarded the long service medal.

In 1933 Miss Clipson was made a Serving Sister of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

Throughout the Second World War she ran the First Aid post in Rushden and was connected with the blood donor sessions. In 1953 she was presented with the emblem of Officer Sister of the Order.

Miss Clipson has also taken an active part in many other organisations. She was the original Rushden representative on the Midland Library Association and is still on the Library Committee as well as being a school governor. She is a life-president of the Women’s Auxiliary, Y.M.C.A.

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